ORLANDO, Fla. – The No. 1 North Carolina women’s tennis team (33-1) bested the No. 8 Texas Longhorns (24-5) 4-2 in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Despite a last-minute push to overcome early deficits, the Tar Heels dropped the doubles point to open the match. On court two, senior Elizabeth Scotty and sophomore Carson Tanguilig were the only UNC doubles pair to grab a victory with a 6-2 win.
First-year Reese Brantmeier and junior Reilly Tran fell behind from the get-go, trailing 1-3. Unable to significantly close the gap, the UNC pair were the first to fall, losing 4-6. Junior Fiona Crawley and graduate student Abbey Forbes kept it close for the first five games of their doubles match, but No. 26 Texas doubles pair Charlotte Chavatipon and Sabina Zeynalova won an important breakpoint and the next key game to pull away with a 2-5 lead.
Forbes and Crawley switched to a more aggressive play-style at the net and captured the next three games to tie the match up once again. However, a series of missed strokes and returns hit directly to the net player allowed Texas to clinch the doubles point with a 7-5 victory.
The Tar Heels won four out of six first sets in singles play. Tran posted a 6-2, 6-2 win on court five. Tanguilig struggled against Zeynalova's hard-hit strokes and control over the court. The UNC sophomore fell in straight sets, 2-6, 3-6. Brantmeier followed suit, resisting a late-set push from her Texas opponent to secure a 6-2, 7-5 victory.
Victories by Crawley and senior Anika Yarlagadda pushed the Tar Heels over the edge, officially sending the team to the semifinal matches.
Who stood out?
Crawley dominated in the first set in singles, working Texas' Chavatipon side-to-side on the court with long strokes in the corner. However, in the second set, Crawley fell into an early three-game deficit. Regaining momentum and wearing down Chavatipon with long rallies, the UNC junior went on a four-game win streak to tie up the match.